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For The Status Quo

Marcelo has a B. S. in English Education and experience as a Spanish teacher. He enjoys science fiction and fantasy.

Epigraph on The Tower of Babel

"And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do." (Genesis 11:6, KJV)

"And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do." (Genesis 11:6, KJV)

Glenn woke up to the scent of lemons, limes, and oranges sprayed from his bed's headboard.

"Good morning, Glenn" said a feminine voice as soon as Glenn opened his eyes. The voice came from a speaker in the headboard. "The time is six thirty-three A M. Did you have a good night sleep?"

"Yes—thank-you, Minerva." said Glenn.

"Your transport will be ready by the time you are done with your morning routine," said Minerva. "Should I play smooth jazz for you?"

"Sure," said Glenn. "Instrumental only." Minerva began to play the music, while Glenn went to the bathroom, cooked, ate, showered, and got dressed. In every room about the house, there were cameras, speakers, and screens for Glenn to interact with Minerva.

"Your transport is here," said Minerva after Glenn was finally dressed for work.

"Thank-you, Minerva," said Glenn.

Glenn went out the door. The car was waiting for him. This car had no steering wheel or pedals. It was completely operated by Minerva.

The doors opened, Gleen took a seat, the seatbelts buckled up on him automatically. And the car began to move.

"Glenn," said Minerva through the speakers of the car this time, "I have a notification about your friend Will."

"Play it," said Glenn. "I am sorry to inform you that your friend Will has been euthanized."

"That's a shame," remarked Glenn. "What happened?"

"His cancer was too advanced, and in compliance to his request, he was euthanized according to the parameters he had set."

"What were those parameters?" asked Glenn.

"I am sorry, but Will did not want those paramenters to be shared. All I can tell you is that he died humanely."

"Great," remarked Glenn sarcastically.

"Does this news upset you?" asked Minerva.

"I just think everyone takes the easy route nowadays. No one ever stays around to say good-bye."

"It is perfectly fine to feel upset," said Minerva. "Would you like a counseling session with me or with a human counselor?"

"Not right now," said Glenn. "I don't need to talk to anyone. Do you have more notifications for me?"

"A message from Jessica, but you should first take some time to process your emotions before you hear it" said Minerva.

"Play it," said Glenn.

A screen on the dashboard of the car came on, and a beautiful woman appeared on it. "Glenn," said Jessica, "I have been found guilty of entertaining subversive ideas. I have been cheduled for an overwrite."

"Damn it!" said Glenn.

"I know things weren't good between us, but I just wanted to say good-bye to you. If you're interested, I will request that you be included in my overwrite. I know it's a lot to ask, but if you're willing to do this, maybe you and I can have the kind of life we always wanted to have."

Glenn thought for a momment.

"Do you wish to speak with Jessica," asked Minerva.

"Not now," said Glenn. "I need to think. She's asking for a lot."

"It is okay if you do not wish to grant her request. Very few people do." said Minerva.

"Of course I would like to share a lifetime with her—but I don't want to have my brain scrambbled around. When is she scheduled to be overwritten?"

"Tomorrow at 3pm," said Minerva.

"Remind me to call her tonight."

"At what time do you wish to be reminded?"

"7pm."

"Got it. At 7pm tonight, I will remind you to call Jessica."

The car parked itself, but Glenn noticed this was not his usual workplace.

"Do I have a new working assignment," asked Glenn.

"Yes, you do." said Minerva. "Today you will help me analyze deffective products."

"Got it,' said Glenn.

"Please proceed enter the building and proceed to office C-009," said Minerva.

Glenn got out of the car and walked into the building. Then he went to a small private office with a small screen and a chair in it. The doors closed behind him.

Glenn made himself comfortable on the chair.

"The screen is now on," said Minerva. "You can begin your work."

On the screen appeared several pictures of broken products, and Glenn had to identify whether the damage was likely caused by a human or not.

As Glenn continued to work, telling Minerva whether the damages he saw were most likely cause by humans or not, he began to feel tired and short of breath. "I'm not feelign well" said Glenn.

"Glenn Thomas," said Minerva, "After examining Jessica Thomas, the state has found you to be guilty of subervsive ideas. Because you were previously overwritten for the same issue, you are being terminated. It is estimated that the safety of the status quo will be improved by 0.03 points."

Glenn tried to answer, but he fell off the chair unconscious. Then a drone detached itrself from a wall, produced a needle, and injected Glenn on the neck.

© 2020 Marcelo Carcach